E-Cigs May Be a Gateway to Tobacco

E-cigarette use among high school students tied to future cigarette smoking

(RxWiki News) Electronic cigarette use in high school may lead to tobacco cigarette use later on, according to a new study.

This new study of Canadian high school students found that e-cigarette use in high school was tied to future cigarette smoking. Because of the well-known health risks of tobacco use, that could have serious implications for the future health of high school e-cig users.

E-cigs are battery-powered devices that use a heated coil to vaporize a flavored nicotine solution. The user inhales this vapor.

The authors of this new study noted that the link between e-cig and conventional cigarette use did not necessarily establish a cause-and-effect relationship.

"While our study provides strong evidence that e-cigarettes are associated with smoking initiation among youth, the association is unclear," said lead study author Dr. David Hammond, of the University of Waterloo, in a press release. "E-cigarettes may help to re-normalize smoking; however, the association between e-cigarettes and smoking may simply reflect common factors rather than a causal effect: the same individual and social risk factors that increase e-cigarette use may also increase the likelihood of youth smoking."

This study looked at more than 44,000 high school students between 2013 and 2015. Compared to students who didn't use e-cigs, those who used one of the devices within the month before the start of this study were more likely to have started smoking conventional tobacco cigarettes one year later.

However, the authors of this study noted that the overall rate of smoking actually decreased over time. They said that could mean that the true impact of e-cig use could be relatively modest.

Still, if you are concerned about your child's nicotine use or would like help quitting smoking, speak with your health care provider.

This study was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Information on study funding sources and potential conflicts of interest was not available at the time of publication.

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Review Date: 
November 5, 2017